MISSOURI ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE YOUTH PROGRAMS: EDUCATION AND FUN IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND JEFFERSON CITY
One hundred and three high school students from Missouri participated in two exciting electric cooperative youth programs, providing them with opportunities to learn, grow as leaders, and explore important issues.
MISSOURI ELECTRIC YOUTH TOUR TO WASHINGTON, D.C.
The Missouri Electric Cooperative Youth Tour took place from June 12 to 18, providing 103 high school students with an immersive experience in Washington, D.C. Hayden Royer of Wheaton, sponsored by Barry Electric Cooperative, was among the local delegates.
Throughout the seven-day tour, the students engaged in a variety of activities focused on politics, leadership, community service, and current societal issues. Highlights included meetings with representatives from their congressional districts, visits to iconic monuments and museums, such as the Smithsonian Institution’s establishments and Arlington National Cemetery.
An unforgettable evening featured a sightseeing and dance cruise on the Potomac River, bringing together delegations from five other states. Additionally, the Missouri delegates participated in the Electric Youth Day, a special program coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which featured speeches by government leaders and motivational speakers, including Paralympic medalist Mike Schlappi.
Since 1964, cooperative electric utilities across the nation have sponsored over 56,000 high school juniors and seniors for similar visits to U.S. congressional delegations and educational sessions in Washington, D.C.
MISSOURI ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CYCLE PROGRAM
In July, 101 high school students from various regions of Missouri, including Simon Gates and Bodee Rose from Cassville sponsored by Barry Electric Cooperative, gathered at the Double Tree Hotel in Jefferson City for the Missouri Electric Cooperative CYCLE (Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience) program. This action-packed three-day event offered a firsthand experience of politics, the cooperative business model, and leadership.
During the program, nationally known speakers engaged the students, and they also had the chance to witness the legislative process in action during a visit to the Missouri State Capitol. One exciting aspect was a "build a cooperative" game that allowed participants to learn more about electric cooperatives through teamwork and competition. Moreover, the group had the privilege of hearing from the Rachel’s Challenge Organization, which shared the inspiring legacy of Rachel Scott as a positive role model.
The educational journey continued with a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City and a live powerline demonstration at Central Electric Power Cooperative’s headquarters. Additionally, the students had the opportunity to explore electric vehicles and their impact on the energy landscape.
The CYCLE program, now in its 20th year, was recognized with the National Community Youth Service award for being the top youth program among all electric cooperatives in the country.
In conclusion, these two Missouri electric cooperative youth programs offered high school students an incredible combination of education, leadership development, and fun. Whether delving into the legislative process in Jefferson City or exploring the nation's capital, the participants undoubtedly gained valuable experiences and memories to cherish for a lifetime.